A TV ad for the film No Strings Attached broadcast on More4 between 13.30 and 14.30 on 11 February 2011, during the programme Deal or No Deal. The female character said I need someone who’s going to be in my bed, no strings attached and the male character replied I could do that. Two brief scenes showed the couple in bed together before on-screen text read CAN BEST FRIENDS … BE SEX FRIENDS?.
One viewer challenged whether the ad had been inappropriately scheduled at a time when children might see it.
Clearcast said the only overtly sexual statement in the ad was text that read CAN BEST FRIENDS … BE SEX FRIENDS? and that they had applied an ex-kids restriction which they considered appropriate to the content of the ad. They said they had no control over the final scheduling of the ad, but they understood it had been broadcast during the programme Deal or No Deal, which they did not consider to be a programme aimed at children.
ASA Assessment: Complaint Not upheld
The ASA considered that the ad reflected the premise of the film in which two adults, who initially attempted to maintain an exclusively sexual relationship, fell in love. We understood that some viewers would find the premise of the film and the reference to sex in the ad distasteful. However, we considered the ex-kids restriction was appropriate and concluded that the broadcaster had exercised its judgement in scheduling the ad correctly because it was unlikely to cause harm or distress to children under the age of 16 who saw it.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 32.1 (Scheduling of Television and Radio Advertisements) and 32.3 (Under-16s) but did not find it in breach.